Children's Books Daily - Interview (August 2020)

How did Children’s Books Daily get started?

I started blogging on the first incarnation of the Children’s Books Daily blog about eight years ago in what was a truly tumultuous time in my life. My brother had unexpectedly passed away, I had a newborn with reflux (hats off to anyone who have survived this – I SEE YOU) and an active toddler and my lifelong insomnia was out of control. A dear family friend, Tom De Spiegelaere decided that a blog would be a good way to fill the wee hours of the night, and keep all my reviews in the one spot. I’d been writing articles and reviewing books all over the place for a long time and Tom basically handed me my blog on a platter and said ‘write’.

At the time I was reluctant to add another blog to the plethora already out there – it felt like just adding more ‘noise’ to an already crowded online space. Tom quelled those fears with his assurances that that whilst there is a large number of blogs out there, if you find a niche and stay true to your aims and your writing style there will always be a readership to be found.

I only planned to blog until the end of my maternity leave but my children are now nine and twelve so clearly I fell in love with online writing and online connection. In the years since I began Children’s Books Daily I have posted hundreds of book reviews and blog posts around reading, have written a book, ‘Raising Readers’ (UQP, 2019) and have conducted more speaking engagements than I care to add up – although I do kind of *love* nattering on about books and reading so this is never a problem! Sadly, in this time I have also experienced the unexpected deaths of my favourite aunt and my beautiful husband, Dan Daley. I now often describe my online writing for Children’s Books Daily as ‘books with a side serve of grief’.

What are Children’s Books Daily’s goals?

Now see if I were a proper business person, I would be able to cut and paste these goals from a business plan that I review annually. However I have no idea what I’m really doing most of the time because as well as Children’s Books Daily I am teaching at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School, solo parenting, writing, teaching at uni and speaking at conferences, early education centres and schools.

Children’s Books Daily is a children’s and YA  literature website and a particular focus (and now that I think about it goal!) is connecting educators, caregivers, creatives and librarians with great books for children – whether they be babies or young adults.

Another goal of mine is that Children’s Books Daily be seen as an online space and place where those who treasure children’s books and reading with children, can be a part of a community. ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ so goes the saying, and it takes a community of readers to raise a reader in my opinion.

Goals. I am going to work on goals. I think I should have goals!

What resources/services do you provide?

Nowadays I think I see my book ‘Raising Readers’ as my biggest resource. It contains everything I’ve ever wanted to say to parents and caregivers about raising a reader, supporting a child through reading challenges, embracing reading as a part of your daily life and learning about life through carefully chosen books. I listened to a fabulous podcast today (Wilosophy – Tim Minchin Part 2) in which Tim Minchin said he wished Trump had been read more books and he talks at length about the power of story. It is so very true. Stories have the power to change lives.

So my book is my proudest resource, but my website has had a beautiful makeover of late and it is where I dump my brain (books + grief) and I hope that people find it useful, engaging and accessible. I won’t ever be accused of being an Instagram influencer, my website and socials have a large side serve of reality!

My website now offers a few e-course (childrensbooksdaily.com/btc) options with more to come. For a long time I’ve wanted to create some content that people can dive into deeply and come out the other side with a solid plan – in this case to create a book club.

Finally – I do lots of speaking engagements and can be booked to speak through contacting me via my website here (childrensbooksdaily.com/speaking).

How do you choose your review titles?

Oh dear! Here we go again with uncovering me as a not particularly professional business person (as if anyone thought I was!).

In order to first source books, I do a lot of browsing in local independent book stores, I subscribe to Riverbend Standing Orders in my work as a teacher librarian and I am sent lots of titles for review from publishers.

I read prolifically but I only review titles I love or which I think will be super useful for a particular age group or area of education. I wish I could review more titles, and I often think about reaching out to some of my favourite reviewers in the industry to see if they’d like to review for Children’s Books Daily, but I just plug away it and try to add reviews on a weekly basis. The new website has a great ‘filtering’ system, which makes a librarians brain happy, and these filters are useful for people looking for reviews of books for age or interest groups.

How can people connect with the Children’s Books Daily?

So many ways! The Facebook group, Your Kid’s Next Read, which I co-admin with Allison Tait and Allison Rushby has over 11,000 members now and is a fabulous space to connect about books and all things reading with you people. My social media is also a great place to connect with me on a more personal level and of course there is a contact page (childrensbooksdaily.com/contact) on my website.

You’ll find me at:

Your Kid’s Next Read: www.facebook.com/groups/276634156006126

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ChildrensBooksDaily

Twitter: twitter.com/daleyreads

Instagram: www.instagram.com/childrensbooksdaily

Tell us a little about the Children’s Books Daily team.

Well apart from me, I also have the wonderful Justine as my Virtual Assistant and the super clever Mel Kroeger as teacher librarian advisor/writer of teachers’ notes! Justine is just about to take a spot of maternity leave and is being replaced by the most excellent Lana!

You can read all about us here (childrensbooksdaily.com/about).

What’s next from Children’s Books Daily?

Sleep? Ha!

No I have plans for more e-courses, maybe some downloaded e-books and I’d love to keep learning (I’m resisting a PhD but it will happen one day!) and sharing that learning with anyone who cares to listen to me natter on about the power of reading in the lives of young people.

 

  • 'Creative Kids Tales is an awesome resource you should totally check it out.' - raspratt.com

    R.A. Spratt
  • Creative Kids Tales offers a brilliant platform for established and emerging creators to keep in touch and learn from each other. That is a great thing for this most isolated of all professions (apart from On-site Antarctic Penguin Imitators). - www.terrydenton.com

    Terry Denton
  • 'I stumbled on to Creative Kids Tales by accident. I thought it was kid's tails. I'd been doing some research about goats and how their tails were actually a fifth leg, a very long time ago. Or did I just dream that? In any case, I was bitterly disappointed at first to find not tails, but tales. However, while I was at the site I had a wander around, and soon discovered that it was even better than a goat's site - no kidding! This is a brilliant haven for writers, new and not so new; a place to showcase their work and to learn from others.' Well done, Georgie. You've done a fantastic job. - www.enterprisingwords.com.au

    Bill Condon
  • 'This is a great website. Nowadays, when getting published is so hard and staying published not much easier, everyone needs all the help they can get. And here's Help with a capital H!' 'Go Georgie! Creative Kids Tales is an inspiration for all writers of children's and YA fiction.' - www.richardharland.net

    Richard Harland
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a fantastic resource for aspiring writers that showcases emerging and published authors and illustrators and provides links to publishers' websites, helpful hints and competitions.'

    Rachel Keyes
  • 'CKT is such a valuable site for anybody wanting to learn a bit more about making children’s books. When time travelling becomes possible, I’ll steal all the info from this site and deliver it to my younger, aspiring self.'

    - petercarnavas.com

    Peter Carnavas

  • "What a wonderful website and wealth of resources. I wish I’d discovered it sooner - but I can still enjoy it now, and have added it to my list of resources for new writers."
    "Keep it up, Georgie!" - www.wendyorr.com

    Wendy Orr
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a treasure trove of resources and insights, compiled with dedication and enthusiasm. A wonderful resource for anyone who is interested in picture books and children's literature.' - sarah-davis.org

    Sarah Davis
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a fabulous community of passionate, hardworking and committed writers. If you're looking for new and exciting talent that's dedicated to the children's book industry - look no further than CKT!'

    - www.waichim.com

    Wai Chim

  • 'Emerging from one's chrysalis of anonymity into the prodigious world of creative children's writing and publishing is a daunting prospect. Georgie Donaghey's Creative Kids Tales is a superlative source of inspiration and information for the bourgeoning writer and illustrator. She has created an invaluable platform from which writers, both developing and established, can view, promote and share each other's work, and most importantly aspirations. A fun, friendly, and informative forum that everyone in the kids' lit industry can benefit from.' Keep it up Georgie! - dimswritestuff.blogspot.com.au

    Dimity Powell
  • 'The long-distance marathon of writing, illustrating and publishing usually begins along a very foggy road, in the dark, shoeless. But wait! What's that light on the horizon? A glowing little cafe, full of a bunch other runners plotting out mud-maps on napkins and exchanging anecdotes, warning about ditches and praising short-cuts. Stop for a while, have a cup of tea, maybe even a shoe-fitting, then get yourself back on the road for the long slog to sunrise.' - www.shauntan.net

    Shaun Tan
  • "Whether just starting out or with many books under your belt, Creative Kids Tales is the perfect place to go for all things writerly. Sharing the inner world is a wonderful thing for solitary writers, and it's all there on Georgie's website.
    Happy reading!" - tashibooks.com

    Anna Fienberg
  • 'What a great asset you are to the children's book industry, Georgie.
    Long may Creative Kids Tales rule!'
    www.paulcollins.com.au

    Paul Collins
  • 'Creative Kids Tales offers new writers the joy of publication on their journey of craft and creativity.'
    'It’s a warm and wonderful home.'
    www.sgervay.com

    Susanne Gervay
  • 'CKT is like the friendly and helpful colleague I could have done with when I started out. Back then I didn’t know anyone who was a writer or illustrator of books.'

    - www.tohby.com

    Tohby Riddle

  • 'Having been a publisher and an author and now proprietor of Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage, I am passionate about promoting children’s books. Creative Kids Tales is such a welcome part of this network and I salute them for their support and their inspiration to so many. On their seventh birthday I wish them many, many happy returns.'

    - www.pinerolo.com.au

    Margaret Hamilton

  • 'What a wonderful website Creative Kids Tales is, supporting and helping Australian authors in their quest through the dark thorny forest of the publishing world. Georgie should be congratulated for all her hard work and fearless leadership!' - www.kateforsyth.com.au

    Kate Forsyth
  • 'Creative Kids Tales deserves all its accolades. Thanks to its creator, the site provides brilliant support, inspiration and encouragement for anyone who loves creating children's books. I have no hesitation in passing on your link.'
    Well done, Georgie! - www.sherylgwyther.net

    Sheryl Gwyther
  • 'Congratulations on a brilliant site, and a superb first year!'.
    Jackie French is Australian Children's Laureate for 2014 – 2015
    www.jackiefrench.com

    Jackie French
  • Writing can be a lonely profession. By necessity, you need to work alone much of the time. But it is wonderful to have a website which eases that by connecting creators with each other and with a wealth of information and resources.
    Bravo! - sallymurphy.com.au

    Sally Murphy
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a brilliant resource – for established writers and those just starting out. I wish it had been around when I was a new writer. There are lots of invaluable tips and great advice.
    Congratulations Georgie – it’s fabulous.' - jacquelineharvey.com.au

    Jacqueline Harvey
  • 'CKT is a great resource for both established and emerging authors. I like the way you're always coming up with new and exciting initiatives at your site. And I love reading the fascinating journeys and achievements of the writers you profile here.' - www.deescribe.com.au

    Dee White
  • 'CKT is informative, relevant, recent and fun! It’s an exceptional resource for anyone involved in children’s literature.'

    - www.timharrisbooks.com

    Tim Harris

  • 'What a great site! We all tend to work in isolation in our own little caves. It’s great to see all the other cave dwellers out there and realise we are not alone. What a great resource!'

    - brucewhatley.com

    Bruce Whatley

  • What a terrific, enthusiastic, informative and creative resource - of value and interest to so many people.
    I'm delighted to be a part of it.
    ursuladubosarsky.squarespace.com

    Ursula Dubosarsky
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a unique and valuable online resource for new and established authors. The site provides a wealth of information and insight into the children's writing world.' 'Thanks for all your support, Georgie, and keep up the good work.' - www.aleesahdarlison.com

    Aleesah Darlison
  • 'Thanks for being such a strong advocate for children’s literature, the power of stories, and reading.
    Keep fighting the good fight and call on me anytime.'
    www.tristanbancks.com

    Tristan Bancks
  • 'I love the grumpy cat videos, hahaha it's so grumpy ... oh, wait, wrong website. Ah yes, Creative Kids Tales. Brilliant! Getting published is an amazing, frustrating, brilliant, lonely, creative journey, and www.creativekidstales.com.au is awesome in that it helps both published and pre-published authors by providing support, inspiration, a community, and by allowing authors to learn from other authors, and who better is there to learn from .. .except maybe that grumpy cat, hahaha, hilarious.' - www.adam-wallace-books.com

    Adam Wallace
  • 'The thing I like about the Creative Kids Tales website is that the authors come across as real people who face the same problems that beginning writers do and that there’s plenty of practical advice.' - www.duncanball.com.au

    Duncan Ball
  • 'Wow! Creative Kids Tales is a fantastic resource for writers, no matter what stage of their writing journey they are at. Congratulations, Georgie, on your attractive, easy-to-navigate website, your generosity to your fellow writers and your constantly evolving ideas. Thanks on behalf of all of us.' - wendyblaxland.com

    Wendy Blaxland
  • 'Georgie Donaghey’s Creative Kids Tales is deservedly going gangbusters! What a wonderful forum and multi-storeyed resource for shiny new authors, legends of the industry and every writer in between!'
    dcgreenyarns.blogspot.com.au

    DC Green
  • 'Georgie and the team at Creative Kids Tales have a wonderful passion for children’s stories, and this site is a wonderful place to visit to find and share ideas!
    Well done guys!' - www.nick-falk.com

    Nick Falk
  • 'I wish Creative Kids Tales had been around when I was first starting out! What a brilliant way to connect with other authors and find out about the lovely world of kids books.' 'Go Georgie! I think you're amazing.' - www.deborahabela.com

    Deborah Abela
  • 'Congratulations to Georgie Donaghey for her hard work and enthusiasm in setting up a site that has been sorely needed to promote current Australian children's writing. Not just for the established, but for up and coming, Creative Kids Tales showcases talent and provides information essential for anyone in the industry.' - www.enterprisingwords.com.au

    Dianne (Di) Bates
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is ambitious, specific and professional - the Top Tips section alone is a must-read for every aspiring children's writer.' - jackheath.com.au

    Jack Heath
  • 'I would have loved to have had access to creativekidstales.com.au when I was starting out! It's an invaluable source of information, inspiration and encouragement for both emerging (and fully-emerged!) writers.' - www.andygriffiths.com.au

    Andy Griffiths
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a lovely online meeting space brimming with support and ideas for writers.'

    - katrinagermein.com

    Katrina Germein

  • 'This site is such a wonderful resource for writers and illustrators at every stage of the journey. I've learned more about some of my favourite people in children's literature here, but also had the joy of discovering whole new worlds of talent.' - annabranford.com

    Anna Branford
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is great. You can pick the brains of people who make stuff without having to stalk them or do anything illegal.' - www.aaronblabeybooks.com

    Aaron Blabey
  • 'Creative Kids Tales would’ve been mighty handy to know about back when I was sitting about drawing and writing and having no idea what to do with any of it! Go explore and create knowing you have such an amazing resource at your back!'

    - www.heathmck.com

    Heath McKenzie

  • 'If a website can be described as 'homely' or 'a friendly place for emerging writers to visit' then that's how I would describe Creative Kids Tales. It's probably the only Australian website for children's writers that I visit regularly and actually feel part of. When I need motivation, interesting writers to read about, or just a peek at my own 'baby steps' towards being a published writer, I visit the Creative Kids Tales family.' A big thank you to Georgie and Rod for a great website. - www.patsimmonswriter.com.au

    (Pat) Patricia Simmons
  • 'Thanks for having me on Creative Kids Tales. It's a great resource for emerging writers and illustrators and I hope it will have a long future.'
    www.sallyrippin.com

    Sally Rippin
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is such a great website for navigating this industry – not just for authors and illustrators, but for parents and teachers and librarians and publishers and kids and storytellers of all sorts. It’s awesome!' - www.julesfaber.com

    Jules Faber
  • 'If there's anything emerging authors struggle with (beyond the dreaded writer's block), it's receiving recognition or even acknowledgment of their work – battling for a slice of that incredibly elusive publishing pie. Georgie Donaghey has created a priceless promotional and networking station that allows new authors to not only share their work, but gain the courage and nous to take their work to a whole new level. Creative Kids Tales is a valuable addition to Australia's burgeoning children's book market.' - www.taniamccartney.com

    Tania McCartney
  • 'What can I say? Well if you have clicked this far and uncovered these words you KNOW that this (Creative Kids Tales) is a terrific resource full of ideas and connections.
    SO dig deeper and get connected!' - www.chrischeng.com

    Christopher Cheng
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a great forum for people who spend most of their working time alone. It is interesting and inspiring to see and hear what other authors and illustrators have to say.' - www.maisyfun.com

    Lucy Cousins
  • 'Creative Kids Tales will jump-start adults seeking to become writers!' - www.wimpykid.com

    Jeff Kinney
  • 'Creative Kids Tales provides such a valuable service. Writing can be a lonely business at times, and seeking publication can be daunting. So it is especially wonderful for writers to be able to access such a comprehensive site where information, experiences and the ups and downs of writing for kids can be shared.' Well done, Georgie! - www.suewhiting.com

    Sue Whiting
  • 'Creative Kids Tales contributes a wonderful sense of community to the Australian kids’ book scene, from sharing insightful interviews, to writing competitions and now a conference. It’s a great organisation to follow online and be a part of!'

    - www.onemorepagepodcast.com

    One More Page podcast

  • 'Buckets of thanks to Georgie for creating Creative Kids Tales. There’s a wealth of wonderful information and resources for everyone interested in creating books for kids – and a warm sense of community.'
    www.meredithcostain.com

    Meredith Costain
  • 'The details available on this site, for emerging writers (or those emerged) is incredibly helpful. From creating stories- plotting, dialogue and character building- to the support writers can seek for their work, be it mentoring or seeking a publisher, it’s all there. An excellent easy-to-access writers’ site!'

    - libbyhathorn.com

    Libby Hathorn

  • 'Creative Kids tales is the perfect place to go for inspiration and to recharge the creative batteries.'

    - www.franelessac.com

    Frané Lessac

  • 'It's about time that we had something like Creative Kids Tales. It's a treasure trove for information and news, plus it showcases talent from aspiring writers. It's a wonderful springboard for anyone who wants to dive into the Children books world!'
    Keep up the fabtastic work! - www.oliverwriter.com

    Oliver Phommavanh
  • 'Everything you need is here, on Creative Kids Tales! Oh, how wonderful this would have been for the young Emma Quay, knowing she loved children’s picture books but not knowing a soul in the industry. Down to earth, comprehensive, friendly, realistic and encouraging advice — this is an invaluable resource. Bravo!' - www.emmaquay.com

    Emma Quay
  • 'The Creative Kids Tales site is great fun and full of information about authors and their books!' - www.isobellecarmody.net

    Isobelle Carmody
  • 'Wow! What a wonderful resource.
    Congrats to everyone involved with Creative Kids Tales.'
    georgeivanoff.com.au

    George Ivanoff
  • 'Once you find an easily-accessible, up-to-date and vibrant source of writing help and encouragement, you should value it and use it! Thanks to Creative Kids Tales, that’s all available, just with the tap of your finger: www.creativekidstales.com.au
    Well done, CKT team!' - janeenbrian.com

    Janeen Brian
  • 'I’m thrilled to be Creative Kids Tales author of the month.' 'I hope in some small way by me taking part, I might help and inspire young authors and artists to follow their own artistic path.' 'The key I believe is to seek to enjoy what you do. Even though doing your best is a constant challenge I find it is a worthwhile one. So, get drawing and / or writing.' Good luck ! - www.leighhobbs.com.au

    Leigh Hobbs
  • 'Creative Kids Tales has inspired, encouraged and supported not only the published, but also us hopefuls still learning the ways of the publishing world. Thanks for providing not only an amazing site to scroll and learn through, but also providing friendship and a real sense of chasing our dreams.' - gardenbabyfaeries.webs.com

    Kelly McDonald
  • 'It's easy to feel alone when writing, and clueless about what happens next. Creative Kids Tales offers answers and community - invaluable resources.'

    - www.clairesaxby.com

    Claire Saxby